Wednesday, March 22, 2023


How to find boondocking campsites in our national forests


Here’s a question from a reader of about boondocking. 

Hi Bob,
How do you find places to camp in the National Forests that are not designated campgrounds? —Reggie

Hi Reggie,
That used to be an easy answer, which was “anywhere that is not prohibited.” But over the last few years the Forest Service has tightened down on the rules to better protect the land, prevent damage to fragile ecosystems, and control the flow of vehicles to improved roads. Many visitors complained about the new rules, but for the most part they made sense compared with totally unregulated use (and overuse) of our forests.

Boondocking in a National Forest

Fortunately, many – if not most – of the places used by RVers for boondocking have been included in the new plan as acceptable camping options. These are called “dispersed camping” areas and are identified on new Motor Vehicle Use Maps (MVUM) published and distributed free both online and at ranger stations. You can find these by logging online into the specific national forest (for instance, Coconino National Forest MVUM) you intend to visit.

Maps can also be found under the “Maps & Publications” and “Recreation” headings in the left column of the specific national forest’s home page, where you will find not only MVUMs but also trails and areas designated open to motorized travel.

Read more about boondocking at my BoondockBob’s Blog.
Check out my Kindle e-books about boondocking at Amazon.

Do you have a question for Bob? Email him at bob.rvtravel (at) .



0 0 votes
Article Rating
Subscribe to comments
Notify of

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

1 Comment
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Greg Illes
5 years ago

Bob, I’ve had excellent luck locating dispersed camp areas using the web site ultimatecampgrounds dot com. They have a map-graphic interface which is super-easy to use, and their database is extensive.

Probably not as complete as the USFS road maps, but then it’s quickly available online.


Sign up for the

RVtravel Newsletter

Sign up and receive 3 FREE RV Checklists: Set-Up, Take-Down and Packing List.